Note: Guests are welcome to use public restrooms that are most appropriate for their gender identity. There this a family restroom located in the Ryman Studios.  

The OLC Innovate tagline is “Education Reimagined”. Written as a declaration, we could also think of it as a question: Education Reimagined?

As a question, we are invited to think about how education can, and should, be opening doors for diverse and inclusive practices. We know that today’s students arrive at our institutions with a variety of life experiences and many current trends are attempts to meet students where they are (i.e. badging/credentialing, accessibility, UDL, experiential education, and more).

In an attempt to answer this question, the OLC Innovate 2018 Conference Committee appointed us to establish the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Our charge was broad in scope: how do we put into practice the conference tagline and reimagine a diverse and inclusive conference experience? Many of us spend our work days thinking about how to accomplish diverse and inclusive learning environments, but is it not also just as important for #OLCInnovate?

To highlight where opportunities for discussion and action around diversity and inclusion are taking place at OLC Innovate 2018, check out the list below. Depending on your preference, you can engage in these very important conversations in large-group (pre-conference workshop, swap + meet, informal dinner, and evening campfire) and small-group/individual (orientation tour and unoffice hours) formats.

The unoffice hours are a space where you can engage with a member of this committee to share your thoughts/impressions/comments on diversity and inclusion at OLC Innovate. Your anonymous (if desired) feedback from these conversations will be shared with OLC staff in an effort to improve the conference experience for all attendees.

Tuesday, April 17th

Wednesday, April 18th

  • Join us for an informal Opryland Discovery Walk on Wednesday at 9am. We will meet in the Innovation Lab and then proceed from there moving at a casual pace through the rest of the OLC Innovate conference space to help you acclimate and learn where to go to get the most out of your experience. This is open to all attendees, and accommodations for persons with disabilities will be honored wherever possible.
  • Unoffice hours in the Innovation Lab: 
    • 11:00am – 11:45am 
    • 2:00pm- 2:45pm

Thursday, April 19th

Friday, April 20th

  • Unoffice hours in the Innovation Lab
    • 11:00am – 11:45am

But we shouldn’t end there. As we think about the future of OLC Innovate, we should consider the following:

  • What does designing a conference with a UDL approach mean?
  • How do we think about diversity and inclusion as a thread that runs through entire conference experience and beyond?
  • How do we analyze and reduce implicit bias in the CFP process? How do we review, discuss, and educate about the implicit biases that exist in conference presentations?
  • How do we invite everyone in attendance to imagine their role in making the conference experience better?

We invite you to join us in inquiry and reflection throughout our week in Nashville and beyond as we explore these questions. We also invite you to pose your own. Please follow along on social media with the hashtag: #inclusionOLC. You can also join the OLC Innovate slack channel and join in the conversation on the #inclusion channel. For information on how to join slack, check out the Ranger Program page.

Kate Sonka  

Kate Sonka is Assistant Director of Academic Technology at the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University. Her areas of scholarly interest include second language acquisition and the role of language in identity development, and she is especially interested in how technology and experiential learning intersect through both accessibility, and study abroad/away programs. She is the founder and director of the Accessible Learning Conference.

Chris Gilliard  

Chris Gilliard is a Professor of English at Macomb Community College. His scholarship concentrates on privacy, institutional tech policy, digital redlining, and the re-inventions of discriminatory practices through data mining and algorithmic decision-making, especially as these apply to college students.

Michael Berman  

Michael Berman is the VP for Technology & Innovation at CSU Channel Islands in Camarillo, California, as well as the Chief Innovation Officer for the ITS Department at the CSU Chancellor’s Office. He is an advocate for access to higher education, student success, diversity & inclusion, and women in IT.

Jennifer Rafferty  

Jennifer Rafferty is the Director of the Institute for Professional Development at the Online Learning Consortium. She has served on strategic planning committees for inclusion and multiculturalism in higher education and she has worked as an advocate and interpreter for immigrant and refugee communities.

 Josh Steele  

Joshua Steele is the Senior Director of Online Student Success, partnering with centralized student services to ensure that students who attend 100% online have the necessary resources and guidance to be successful. Joshua came to the University of Arizona in April of 2015 after several years serving online students at the University of Phoenix, where he spent his time focusing on specialized student populations as well as the orientation process for new students.

Joshua’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Arizona, as well as a Master’s degree in Adult Education and Training. In his spare time, he seeks out recreational volleyball leagues and new restaurants to explore.